Gender work isn’t a box-ticking exercise

This article from Palladium was first posted on their website. Palladium is one of the newest endorsers of the #GenderStandards. Check out their work here.

Palladium’s work starts at a single point: understanding how everything is interconnected. In order to create new thinking, new approaches, and new solutions, we have to consider the broader context of any community or system. We encourage our clients and partners to think about key actors, dynamics, linkages, and gaps, including gender. Yet, what we often find is that gender is under resourced, despite being a key component of any ecosystem. Gender is one of those dynamics that affects every individual, in every aspect of life. That’s why Palladium is proud to announce our official endorsement of the Minimum Standards for Mainstreaming Gender Equality.

The Gender Standards are set out by the Gender Practitioner Collaborative, and contain eight standards every endorser strives to meet:

  • Adopt a Gender Equality Policy
  • Develop Organizational Culture and Capacity for Gender Equality
  • Conduct and Utilize Gender Analysis
  • Allocate Budget Resource for Gender Equality
  • Utilize Sex- and Age- Disaggregated Data
  • Develop Gender Equality Indicators
  • Do No Harm
  • Ensure Accountability

Business as Usual
For Palladium, it’s easy to endorse these standards, having long been a champion of health, human rights, and economic empowerment for society’s most marginalised and vulnerable people. Similarly, and as a fundamental part of how we do business, we strive to create an inclusive culture where differences are both recognised and valued wherever we operate in the world and across every part of our work. We bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds and give each individual the opportunity to contribute their skills, experience, and perspectives. Our goal is to not just assess how gender is impacted across our projects, but to also work with our clients and partners to support, understand, and even demand exemplar diversity and inclusion practices.

Gender in Health
Palladium has strong experience implementing programmes that promote gender equality and social inclusion. Within our global Health Policy Plus project we include gender in family planning, sexual reproductive health, and HIV work. For example, we designed and implemented a sensitisation curriculum and trained over 4,000 staff from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and their implementing partners in 40 countries on gender and sexual diversity. In Pakistan, we cultivated male champions for family planning within the government, civil society, and health professionals in order to reduce barriers and expand access to family planning services and programmes for women and men.

Gender in Agriculture
In Ghana, we’re galvanizing agricultural investment opportunities by connecting  investors with opportunities and linking smallholder farmers to finance. In general, closing these critical gaps in a supply chain creates profits for investors, stable livelihoods for farmers, and reduces food insecurity, but we also look at how gender is impacted. In this particular case, forty percent of the farmers impacted are women. Our work looks at how women support their families and access finance so we can continually customise our interventions.

Gender within Palladium
As an organisation that is committed to making the world a better place, we strive to ensure that the right conditions are in place so that every person is able to achieve their full potential. We continually push ourselves to be leaders in how we approach gender; adapt our work to be as inclusive as possible; and continually look for improvements. For the past three years we have taken our approach to diversity and inclusion within our projects and ambitiously incorporated it across our organisation, reaching the highest levels of leadership. We don’t just include “gender” into a few sentences of proposals, but have our own internal working groups, a Chief Diversity Officer, and a community of practice with over 800 employees. We measure our own recruitment and pay by gender, have created a global Diversity and Inclusion training course for all employees, as well as regularly share ideas, best practices, and examples of successes. In short, at Palladium we are ‘walking the walk’ within our own organisation to incorporate a gender lens because we know it’s good for our employees, it’s good for business, and it’s good for our clients and partners.

The Only Way
Having a gender advisor isn’t enough. Putting a few gender words in our proposals isn’t enough. Ticking boxes on a list isn’t enough. We’re striving to incorporate gender into everything we do, from our senior leadership down into our work within communities, because it’s the only way to fully understand the challenges that our partners, clients, and those we work with need to solve. Endorsing the International Gender Standards is just one more way we’re holding ourselves accountable.

This article was written by Palladium’s Sara Pappa, Elisabeth Rottach, and Ryan Olson.